Thursday 7 September 2017

Book Review: Wild Honey & Rye (Modern Polish Recipes) by Ren Behan

I get a lot of books to review and it is with great pleasure to receive Wild Honey & Rye - Modern Polish Recipes by Ren Behan (published by Pavilion Books with a RRP £20). I love it when a new cookbook is launched however when the author is a personal friend the excitement is amplified!!

The book is a beautiful, concise and exciting representation of modern Polish cuisine.  Ren brings her Polish heritage and soul into this book with easy to follow recipes, beautiful photographs and the presence of Ren's mother through her family recipes.

I have known Ren since before I started writing my blog - she offered me loads of support in those early days and even then Ren was talking about one day bringing out a recipe with her family's Polish recipes.

To begin the cover of the book is beautiful.  It is simple and invites you to open to see what other delicacies are inside.

Inside I felt like I had entered Poland - many of the photos were taken on location in Poland and each one has a little paragraph or insight into Ren's soul and love of her heritage.
There are a lot of Polish people in America where I grew up meaning I am familiar with quite a few of the recipes, really looking forward to trying the Bigos (page 125). I make my own version of Bigos and look forward to trying Ren's version to see how authentic my recipe is!

Pierogi (Polish Dumplings) on page 150
and sweet treats such as Polish Apple Cake on page 163

However I wanted to start my journey with Plum & Poppy Seed Cake.
I have eaten this several times when Ren has made it and it is really delicious.  I wanted to try this because I love to bake, love plums in cakes and I could compare it with one made by the expert!

I like to start my baking by getting everything ready so I am not scrabbling in the cupboards mid-recipe.
Any cake that has the zest of a whole lemon is going to be good isn't it! The smell when you are grating the lemon is so evocative of many cakes and tray bakes I have made over the years!
Adding the poppy seeds was really exciting! I adore the little bits in the cake with their unique 'bite' on the tooth.
After the mixing and baking here is my finished result! Looks pretty much like Ren's.
Final dusting with icing sugar and ground cinnamon and cut into squares.  All that is left to do is get Mr R to put the kettle on - we have cake!
I was sent a copy of Wild Hone & Rye - Modern Polish Recipes to review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions and photographs are my own and may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission.

You can read about Ren's journey by clicking here.

Some other reviews from blogger friends below:-
Janice Pattie - Farmers Girl Kitchen
Claire Jessiman - FoodieQuine
Ceri Jones - Natural Kitchen Adventures
Nicola Corbishley - Kitchen Sanctuary
Helen Goldrein - Family Friends Food
Karen Hackworthy - Veggie Desserts
Hannah Hossack-Lodge - Domestic Gothess
Jane Sarchet - The Hedge Combers
Kavey Favelle - Kavey Eats
Lucy Parissi - Super Golden Bakes


  1. Such a lovely review of Ren's beautiful book. Your plum and poppy seed cake looks great. I have than next on my list to make from the book.

    1. The cake was really delicious - I think I will be making this regularly !

  2. Looks very tasty Heidi, I'm tempted to make this one myself now! Bet it would be lovely with a nice cup of tea.

    1. I started with this one because I have had it a few times at Ren's. I think will be the bigos next!!

  3. What a great looking cake and so right for the autumn season. Such a lovely book!

    1. This is a really beautiful book with loads of recipes I want to try!

  4. Great job Heidi, that cook looks to die for!
    Jane x

    1. The cake was really lovely - I love the crunch from the poppy seeds!

  5. Thank you Heidi, it has been greta to follow your journey too. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts on my book. I'm so pleased you like it. The cake looks perfect and I'm sure you'll be able to make lots more recipes using your seasonal allotment gluts. Great to hear that it brought back memories of Polish food in America! Ren

    1. It was a pleasure to review your book. I look forward to trying other recipes.

  6. The cake looks awesome!! My mum used to make plum cake similar to this, it was my favorite summer dessert.